Like many of you, I have reconnected with past friends via facebook over the years, but it's rare that you find that you still have a lot in common after almost two decades (!!) have passed. But after finding Lyn, one of my college roomates, I knew after following her Facebook feed for a while, that we have A LOT in common actually... maybe even more than we did back in college!
We all change a lot when that much time has passed... most of us are very different people, but there's still some of that college student in there. I think when you're in your late thirties (as we are), you have a very good idea of who you are and have hopefully escaped the growing pains of life relatively unscathed. ; ) I for one have felt that over the past few years, I've felt more comfortable in my skin and comfortable with who I am more than any time in my life. Maybe I'm a late bloomer? But honestly, I think a lot of people feel this way. The thirties have been good, but I have to say, I'm not sad about my forties creeping in... I'm actually excited about it! My kids are growing up, becoming their own little people and I don't have the stress of taking care of babies anymore.
Lyn and I share a passion for making sure our kids are putting good, real, nutricious food in their bodies, making sure they are happy and loved. I love Lyn's wish for her kids to have an adventurous spirit. I noticed at one point that her girls were walking around outside without shoes on. I thought maybe she forgot? But lo and behold, her kids don't wear shoes when they are out in nature! How amazing is that? I think it's awesome. I wish we had been more adventurous with our kids at an early age... unfortunately we were those hovering, scared parents that were concerned about every thorn, bug and pointy rock!
Another thing I loved about Lyn, her husband Dan and her girls, is their tightness as a family. I realize that every family has their moments, and maybe this was a good day for her family, but something tells me they are like this most of the time. I've never seen a more harmonious family in every sense of the word. You can tell that Lyn and Dan are 50/50 in this parenting thing (and that is rare I think) and they are very respectful and supportive of each other. Not once was there a tense moment between these two. I think family photos tend to bring out stress in families (rightly so, it's kind of a big deal to have your family portrait taken, I know my family feels this way!) but they were so relaxed and natural with each other... not trying to look or act perfect, but to just be.
Since I spent most of the day and night with Lyn and her family, we went ahead and took photos in spurts throughout the day, meaning at times the light wasn't optimum. These were taken at around noon or one, but I love that we found a little patch in the forest and were still able to capture some beautiful backlighting. I love the way the girls' hair glows!
Another thing that I LOVE about this family, is the way Lyn and Dan are so inclusive with their girls. Often, when you are with a family, it might be a habit of the parents to send their kids on their way to play so that the "adults" can chat. There was never separation that way... the kiddos were always there, part of everything. I LOVED that! When the kids spoke, there was no "shhh" or "go play"... Lyn and Dan always stopped to be attentive to what their kids were saying. They were respectful of their kids as human beings. How cool is that? I know I'm guilty sometimes of just wanting some space between the kids and I when we are socializing, but I think this is such a great way of instilling confidence and self-worth in kids. You can tell by their interaction in these photos how genuinely connected this family is. It was the lovliest thing to watch. More than anything, I was just so happy to see my friend so happy!
Their oldest daughter was also so loving with her younger sister. I'm sure resentment creeps in when there's a new kid on the block taking away all of the attention, but she never acted this way. Again, I'm sure they have their moments, all siblings do! But I loved how loving she was towards the little one.
If you're in Georgia or Alabama, or nearby, we took these pics at Cheaha State Park in Alabama (about a 2 hour or less drive from Atlanta) and it is GORGEOUS. How I never knew this place existed is beyond me. They have a little manmade beach with an old diving platform that is SO cute. I want to go back and shoot a family there again, this time with swimming children (Lyn's kiddos weren't swimming independently yet) and I will have my bathing suit with me this time so I can get in the water since the platform is in the center of the lake. (I will have to protect my camera somehow!) Water is always gorgeous in photos. Here's a vintage postcard of the diving platform, too. So old school!
There are also some gorgeous waterfalls right outside the state park that we didn't have time to shoot at. This one in particular is gorgeous with the watering hole. This would be gorgeous in photos. Next time! They also have these beautiful A-frame chalets that you can stay at that look to have been built in the 60s.. and also a pool overlooking the mountains! Swoon! We're planning on going back soon with our kiddos.
I brought some outfits I had bought for the girls and also a little suitcase full of hair accessories. We had so much fun playing dress up. These are the flowers that I purchased the morning of the shoot at the Jimmy Carter Center Freedom Farmer's Market here in Atlanta. It is SO HARD to find beautiful flowers locally, so when I stumbled onto 3 Porch Farm on Instagram (they are located near Athens, GA), I knew I had to get some flowers from them for this shoot. They were a VERY reasonable price. Flowers can be expensive! I bought 4 giant bouquets of Zinnias. Glorious. These were the itty bitty ones below. I will be going back!
Above is the flower crown that Lyn wore that I made a few months ago for myself, but never got around to wearing it. I thought it looked beautiful on her and really captured her free spirit. It's made of vintage millinery supplies, some with a lovely velvety texture.
I have SO many more photos to share from this shoot. It was such a success!
If you are in Atlanta or nearby (I'm open to a short distance of travel), I'm free for hire if you are looking for a family photographer! I'm still working on getting a portfolio site up, but I'm taking clients now if you are interested. Please email me at thousandclowns AT gmail for inquiries!